Background. Previous studies in animals and human beings have shown that vein bypass grafts exhibit diminished endothelium-dependent relaxation and the development of intimal hyperplasia. This study examines the effect of L- arginine on experimental vein graft endothelial cell function and the development of intimal hyperplasia. Methods. Common carotid vein bypass grafts were performed in 24 New Zealand White rabbits: 12 were controls and 12 received L-arginine (2.25%) orally 7 days before operation and thereafter until harvest, 28 days after operation. Intimal and medial dimensions were determined by planimetry on pressure-fixed vessels. Relaxation to acetylcholine, serotonin, calcium ionophore (A23187), and sodium nitroprusside was performed on precontracted vessel rings. Results. Arginine- treated vein grafts showed a 47% reduction in mean intimal thickness (p < 0.001) compared with controls. By scanning and transmission electron microscopy, all vein grafts showed a confluent endothelium. In contrast to control grafts, which do not relax to acetylcholine and serotonin, arginine- treated vein grafts relaxed in response to both agonists. There was a significant increase (p < 0.05) in the maximal relaxation to calcium ionophore (A23187) in arginine-treated vein grafts compared with control grafts. Non-endothelium-dependent responses to sodium nitroprusside were equivalent in all vein grafts. Conclusions. This study shows that oral L- arginine supplementation significantly reduces intimal hyperplasia and preserves nitric oxide-mediated relaxation in experimental vein grafts, suggesting a role for nitric oxide in the regulation of the cellular events that lead to intimal hyperplasia.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|State||Published - 1994|
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